by Selina Wilken
Bossa Studio co-founders Roberta Lucca and Imre Jele talk to Hypable about the upcoming Merlin game coming soon to Facebook, and why fans should get excited for a chance to experience the magic of the TV series in a whole new way!
Merlin: The Game is created by Bossa Studios in close collaboration with Shine TV, the production company behind the BBC series. Among other things, this collaboration has given the game makers access to costume and set designs, and have allowed them to create a game that looks and feels like the series.
But, as Imre explains, the game is so much more than just a replay of what we’ve seen on television. In the game, you play as an original character of your own design, roaming the world of Camelot with a mission to save the kingdom from a new enemy. You have to fight alongside Merlin, Arthur and other known characters from the universe, while also completing side quests and adventures.
“The game is about cooperation,” Imre says. “You walk around and you can see the characters and join them in adventures, and fight the evil forces threatening Camelot together.”
At the same time, he stresses that the game is very much an extension of the show, and fans should be especially happy to see the relationships established between the characters carried on into the game experience.
“Most importantly, it is faithful to the TV show,” he says. “The show is very much about the relationship between the different characters. Look at Merlin and Arthur: the friendship and bromance between the two of them is very important, it drives the story. Those relationships are in the game.”
While the creators admit that there are definite RPG elements, they are hesitant to label the game a role-playing adventure. Roberta explains that while they have tried to create an interface which allows the game to develop alongside the user’s journey and choices, they have stayed away from the huge, calculating nature of traditional RPGs.
Imre adds, “We wanted to change some of the rules which are true for RPG. It definitely carries a lot of resemblance to RPG adventure games, but I personally don’t like the category, because it involves certain concepts in people’s heads.”
When asked why Bossa chose to develop the game for Facebook as opposed to a console, Imre and Roberta were quick to point out the benefits of the platform. First of all, they were able to design the game in a “striking visual style,” as you can see from the “Making Of” video:
In terms of gameplay, Imre explains that, “our thought was that ultimately, even though creating a game on Facebook in a browser had limitations, we avoid setting up a barrier where you have to own a console to play the game. That is also why the game will be free to play.” In fact, Bossa has consciously decided that to make the game available to everyone they will not introduce pay-walls to lock access to the game, and extra items will be unlockable with coins gained from their in-game achievements.
Roberta also notes that by making the Merlin game an online, social experience, the creators will better be able to expand and develop it further through interaction with the players.
“It’s about the fans and finding out what they like and what they don’t like,” she says, “and then create some more content for the people who are fans of both the show and the game. So we hope that the more people love it and the more success it has, the more they will have to play.”
Ultimately, Imre explains, the game was created out of a desire to give fans a chance to feel like they were a part of the universe of the series.
“What we wanted to do was create a game which compliments the show,” he says. “It’s not just using the name, it actually extends on the universe.”
The Facebook game is set to launch in early October to correlate with the beginning of series 5 on BBC, but as Imre explains, the launch of the game is only the beginning.
“Because it’s on the online platform, it means we can expand on it. On launch you have a game, but afterwards – every week or every second week – we can add extra content. It is our hope that we can continue to grow. Making the game is only the first step. The fans can say we don’t like this or that part, and then we can adjust the game depending on what they think about it.”
Roberta re-iterates that the fans are their priority when developing the game further. She says, “It’s about the fans and finding out what they like and what they don’t like, and then we can create some more content for the people who are fans of the show and the game.”
Ending the interview, Imre shares his hope that the Facebook game will be around for a long time, and reiterates that Bossa Studios will continue to listen to feedback from fans and tailor the experience to what they want. “There are people out there who really love the show,” he says, “and I want to give them something amazing.”
Merlin: The Game is expected to launch in early October. You can sign up for a chance to be included in a closed beta testing here on MerlinGame.com.